Lotus Elan

Sprints

PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:13 pm

Hello all,

New here, just wanted to ask a question about Sprints.

Can someone tell me when they first entered production? I see on this website it mentions 1971 except I see a lot of other references on the Web mentioning 1970? Was it different for DHC's versus Coupes etc?

Also I see a few Sprints with raised bumps in the bonnet I gather to clear the Carbs but I've also seen some without these. What's the situation there?

Many thanks.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:40 pm

Officially the Sprint was introduced early 71 (Feb I think) but its generally agreed that Lotus and their dealers who had unsold S4's changed these S4's into Sprints, the debate carries on to weather these are Sprints or not.Sprints are just S4's with B.V. engines and a few other minor changes.
As far as I understand the bonnets, Lotus just used up the bulged bonnets (which were for Stromburg cars)
Lotus had gone back to Webers/Deloto's and were not going to waste the bonnets.
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:50 pm

Aha thanks. I've been looking at a Car advertised as a Sprint from March 1970 with a very low single digit engine number. 000xC. I would gather this potentially is one of these converted Sprints. I gather it becomes very difficult to know what you're looking at to verify authenticity. Is there anything else I can look for?
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:24 pm

If it is an "official Sprint" (U.K. spec) the engine number will start with the letter "N" of course an engine can be changed at any time.
The Sprints had the Big Valve engine with a B.V. ribbed cam cover (also can be changed)
The raised casting near no 1 plug on the head should also have an "N" stamped on it (U.K. spec)
The diff has a strenghening bracket at the top where it mounts.It is also fitted with a 3.7 diff as standard (not sure what the S4's had)
The seats in all the Sprints I have seen do not tip up, they only slide back and front. (actually I took the extra brackets of my Sprint so mine do tip up)
Sprints were available in one colour but most cars have been resprayed by now anyway.
As far as I know all U.K. Sprints had Deloto carbs not webers (could be wrong though)
Cant think of any more differences at the moment.
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PostPost by: ElliottN » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:38 pm

The number you have mentioned sounds like part of the VIN - not the engine number. See the link http://www.lotuselan.net/publish/car_type_by_vin.shtml (on the home page of the forums). As you will see - Sprints weren't released until 1971 and the "C" for instance suggests the car is a S4 dhc built for domestic (UK) market

Engine no's are a single alpha character followed by numeric id - e.g. C12345. The alpha prefix identifies the engine config (cams, carb's, head) and target car - there are about 24 variants and as Brian said an original Elan Sprint engine no. for UK was prefixed N.

After 30+ years though now, very few cars are really original and a lot of S4's have become "Sprint like".
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:59 pm

OK it sounds like the nth S4 DHC produced on the new numbering scheme. Would be interesting to find out if it was a Lotus modified/Dealer modified or home modified ;) car but guess I'll never know.

Thanks for the info guys.
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:24 pm

hmm Guys can you help me out here? I have a VIN number and I'm confused as to what the Car is now.

450006C

All this says to me is that the car is a DHC. The number past 45 I can't work out at all, it should be a series 3?! The C from the list on here only makes sense if the car is a 1970. The car was first registered in the UK in March 70...?!!!! :)

Very very confused, can anyone enlighten me?
Last edited by LL on Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:36 pm

Brian, You are wrong :)


"As far as I know all U.K. Sprints had Deloto carbs not webers (could be wrong though)"

My '71 Sprint had Webers. It was many years ago and was a factory fresh original car in Gold Leaf colours.

There are quite a few fake Sprints around but I would argue that if it is all Sprint spec' does it matter? ............ Unless of course you are paying a price premium or are someone who worries about such things ;)
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:54 pm

I'm not particulary worried if this one is a S4 conversion, just confused by the chassis number which has me pondering what model it actually is?
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:11 pm

[quote="LL"]hmm Guys can you help me out here? I have a VIN number and I'm confused as to what the Car is now.
450006C
All this says to me is that the car is a DHC. The number past 45 I can't work out at all, it should be a series 3?! The C from the list on here only makes sense if the car is a 1970. The car was first registered in the UK in March 70...?!!!! :)quote]

Does it have a chassis plate?
Why do you say its a series 3? does it have S3 or S4 rear lights?
45 is a drophead
The last four digits should be the chassis number.......0006
The C is an Elan STD Convertible

O.K. John, Weber's they had :oops:
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:25 pm

On the homepage with the link to the VIN numbers it states the VIN's start 45/5701 with the S3. This car is 45/0006 - that's why I'm confused..?
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:40 pm

Lotus changed the chassis numbering system in 1970 and the mysteries of anything to do with Lotus records are well known, it all adds to the legends and myths of Lotus ownership.
If you think its qenuine car buy it and enjoy :lol:
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:41 pm

Car has S4 lights.
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PostPost by: LL » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:11 pm

OK it seems the VIN on the V5 is not quite right, the VIN on the car is 7001010006C, so that now makes sense. The Sprint/non-Sprint issue is another topic altogether.. ;) Cheers.
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:58 pm

Anorak time!

The Sprint concept was announced in October 1970 at the Motor Show. The Sprint started to be manufactured in January 1971 for release in February 1971. Therefore only cars with unit identification plates starting with 7101 can be considered true Sprints.

The consensus is that the last Sprints were manufactured in February 1973, 73020899 being the final DHC. However, it appears that they continued to be listed and available up to August 1973. Certainly I have seen some Sprints on the M registration plate, indicating they were registered after 1 August 1973. In other words, there continued to be stock of cars from the dealers for some time after final manufacture. I do know of one Sprint with a unit number starting 7303, just to add the usual dash of Lotus factory confusion into this!

From your unit ID, LL, you appear to have an S4 made in January 1970, production batch 01, chassis number 0006, making it obviously one of the first Elans to use the new numbering system.
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